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ESOTERIA: TECHNO ASSASSIN OF THE FUTURE

I present this file to you, the public, because it is your right as a loyal Esoterian citizen, to know of the danger that you are in. Our government has kept this a secret from you for far too long.

I shall remain anonymous, for I fear that my own life is of little consequence to those that wish to see this frightening project achieve mass production.

Project Raven is a weapon of silent destruction that has been stolen for use as a terrorist threat against you, the people of Esoteria.

General Kazan, leade of the Seperatist Movement, has threatened to unleash an army of Ravens onto other planets of Esoteria.

Against these genetically enhanced killers, there is little defense.

May God help us all...

  • 3D accelerated graphics, huge interactive environments & intense battles against dozens!
  • Intelligent enemies seek & eliminate you with ruthless accuracy and group tactics!
  • Mission-based gameplay with non-linear objectives and interactive plot twists!

~from the back of the box

Due to budgetary concerns, mis-management or simple bad luck, promising games getting the shaft is as old as the industry itself. That's what happened to Esoteria: Techo-Assassin of the Future, an underrated third-person shooter and the only game developed by Mobeus Designs Inc. Those who do know the game will perhaps be familiar with the demo which did manage to turn a few heads on the gaming cover discs. A change in publisher from Bandai to Kirin Entertainments Inc sealed its fate. It was forced out in April 1998 in an unfinished state with a limited release and very little fanfare. It's a shame, as the game itself is quite something, even with the rushed development.

You play as Raven, a cyborg soldier created by one of three warring factions of Esoteria, a newly colonised planet housing Earth's excess population. Not all like this totalitarian threat, so the little-funded revolutionists of Esoteria 3 steal the super soldier, restore its human memories and convince him to fight their cause in the heart of their enemy's army base.

You begin with a training mission where you get to grips with the controls. They're fairly standard, but you might want to tweak a few of the settings to keep them in line with modern standards such as inverting the vertical mouse axis and assigning WASD to movement. The only thing that will forever seem off is the momentum. Raven moves slowly with a floaty jumping arch. I can imagine this would be explained away as Esoteria's lower gravitational pull to Earth's, but in reality it takes some getting used to.

Once the training is over, the floor opens up and you immediately drop into the next area and the game proper. No loading. No end-of-level screen. Nothing. In fact, the entirety of Esoteria is connected in such a way that levels mean nothing. Areas are separated by a subway train ride or a jaunt into a sewer system and it took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting a Half-Life level of immersion for what is essentially an explosive third-person shooter.

Except, it really isn't. The controls, the presentation, the weapons, the enemies - they all signal a high-octane romp in a similar style to MDK. The design, however, is much more suited to thoughtful, slow-paced stealth. Levels have missions that aren't just getting from point A to point B or killing a bunch of robots. You'll have to search for well-hidden switches to turn off defense systems while destroying security cameras so you don't alert more bad guys to your presence. Raven's sluggish movement makes a lot more sense now you have to practice sneaking.

The problem is that the style and design don't mesh as well as you'd want it to. Slowly sneaking across an airfield isn't as fun ash slashing past everyone with your cool-as-hell A.R.C. blade. Activating your cloaking device isn't as exciting as a massive blast from your Gyrex Cannon. Searching for hidden control panels isn't as rewarding as finding a new weapon.

That being siad, there's nothing to stop you from playing like that. You might run out of ammo, but you can satisfy the Michael Bay in you. And if you do, you'll have a blast playing it. Just keep an eye on your may and objectives and there's a lot to love about Esoteria. Later levels so suffer from the truncated production, but they do not scupper what should've rightfully been a classic.


To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer runs natively on Windows. Intro, Ending and Credits videos played separately through the custom menu. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 227 Mb.  Install Size: 383 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


Esoteria: Techno Assassin of the Future is © Kirin Entertainment Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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14 comments:

  1. There Seems to Be an issue with this game. It only takes me to a menu with a green outlined mouse cursor.

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  2. What can I do to fix it? What should I do to fix the errors? I uninstalled the program. Then installed it again only to find out there's still errors.

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    Replies
    1. I got the game to run natively under Windows by replacing the ddraw.dll with a fixed one. Other than the movies, which wouldn't run at all or crash the game when placed in the "movies" folder (see ChamberNotes).

      The only other thing I can thing of would be to import the registry. I've included it in the install folder, but in my tests I didn't think it was necessary. Run (install dir)/ESO/DDAMF.REG as admin and see if that helps. Let me know if it does and I'll do an update. You can see what's inside it by opening it in notepad if you're curious.

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    2. Where is the ddraw.ddl? How do I replace it?

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    3. It's already been replaced and is found in the (install directory)\ESO folder.

      Delete
  3. I'm from the Balkans, and i remember reading a PC gaming-centric magazine that was quiet popular here back in mid 2000's that had an article for this particular game, and even the writer for it was surprised as to how come this didn't generate a greater presence back when it was originally released.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Half-Life, Unreal and other games may have stolen its thunder. I also remember thinking it looked very similar to MDK when I first saw it - a sprite based character in a third-person 3D shooter. Sprites were becoming a bit of a dirty word at the time with everyone flaunting their 3D prowess - see Outwars and Heretic 2 that came out the same year. They were similar games and had fully 3D character models. It looked old by comparison, even if some other aspects were a little ahead of its time. Add the complete lack of marketing for a new and unknown developer's ambitious debut game and it's a recipe for a cult classic. The fact that it arguably isn't considered that two-and-a-half-decades on is the real mystery.

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    2. Yeah. I think in 1998 I wouldn't have had much time for a game with such a prominent sprite, even though my PC would barely run fully 3D games. Such was the wonderful (and somewhat ruthless) pace of change back then. Truly a heady time.

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  4. How can I find the Run (install dir)/ESO/DDAMF.REG as admin?

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    Replies
    1. Go to the install directory (default C:\Games\Collection Chamber\Esoteria) then enter the ESO folder. Double click DDAMF.REG to add to registry. You can right-click and open it in notepad to see the technical stuff within.

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    2. How Do I add To Registry?

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    3. Double-click on the file and Windows should do the rest

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    4. Ok So I double Clicked after installing and clicked on the DDAMF.REG and I still have the same issue of errors.

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    5. Then without seeing your desktop, I'm stumped. I did think the registry file was superfluous and I am unamble to replicate what you see on my system. Did it install correcty? Try running the executable (ESOTERIA.EXE) in compatibility mode. Maybe Microsoft Visual C++ isn't installed on your computer (https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=26347)? I can only hazard a guess at this point.

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